• By Joe Connelly

    The Trump administration appears set to take a hard right turn on environmental policy, with climate change skeptic Scott Pruitt as boss of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Rep. […]

    • Climate change skeptic to head EPA; McMorris Rodgers

      The term “skeptic”, is still being misused to describe oil-stooge DENIERS!

    • @alan
      and with rex @ the tiller
      there will be blood

    • q

      This is a quite stunning film. It is a gripping narrative of the two most destructive forces in US culture.

      I like to set it against “Slow West” which is a metaphor for the deep well of decency that can survive the desperate struggle for survival out West which latter still haunts American sensibilities with its residuum of selfishness.

    • Look at this far-right lunacy, this insidious propaganda! This is from the website that the shadowy, nefarious, libertarian, abortion-hating, religious, nationalist Steve Bannon ran before becoming Trump’s chief adviser. He is still his adviser.

      An excerpt:

      In the headline I call the climate change industry a hoax. That’s because, on any objective level it is. I don’t mean that all the scientists and businesses and politicians promoting it are abject liars — just most of them, even if it means that in order to keep earning their living they have to be dishonest with themselves about something they know in their hearts not to be true.

    • These bastards. Rick Perry is now on board. This is absolutely a war on climate science, and the height of madness. No one talked about climate change in the media. No money in that. It was all about Trump “softening his position” on immigration – for weeks, and about he said this and she did that, and the debates, where this issue wasn’t even raised. Hillary was not a climate change denier, and I believe most people knew that and didn’t care – because she’s so “dishonest”! Pathetic country.

    • I think Trump’s strategy, both for winning the election and for what he intends to do during his presidency has finally become clear to me. I’m going to post an analysis shortly but I’m still working on a few things. I’m afraid it’s going to be rather long so apologies for that. I’ll write it offline and paste it in. I might as well make a complete tit of myself by predicting the future and ending up being proven completely wrong but we’ll see. If I’m right though the world is about to become a very interesting place.

    • The world under Trump – an analysis of Trump’s election and future presidential strategy

      It’s fair to say the world has been stunned by Trump’s success in the 2016 election. Most people have found it hard to understand why people would vote for an incorrigible liar, narcissist, sociopath with very few specific policy statements other than he’s going to make America great again, lock Hillary up and build a wall. It’s becoming clearer though that he won with Russian assistance and his cabinet picks are showing what his intentions are, and no doubt always were. To understand those we need to go back in history a few years.

      In the year 2000 American gdp was about 10 trillion dollars. It sat way out at number 1 with Japan in second place with just under half that gdp at a bit less than 5 trillion. China was down in 6th place with 1.2 trillion dollars, behind Germany, France and the UK. Russia was barely a blip on the graph with 259 billion dollars in 17th place.

      Today the USA’s gdp is over 18 trillion with China in 2nd place with 10 trillion, over half the USA’s gdp at current exchange rates whereas Japan, now 3rd, has stagnated at its former 5 trillion.

      But that’s not the whole story. GDP at current exchange rates doesn’t tell you what a country can do with its money inside its own borders. To see that we need to know what goods actually cost in each country. Most western countries have exchange rates locked together so that goods cost about the same amount in local currency everywhere. A car or a big Mac in the USA cost a similar amount in dollars as they do in pounds in the UK converted at the exchange rate. Poorer countries and those outside of this exchange rate system can be much cheaper to live in. An average basket of goods in China costs about half of what it does in the USA relative to what people earn in their local currency. If China wants to build a dam for hydroelectricy or expand its military it costs about half what that same dam, or army, would cost in the USA. So although China only has just over half the USA’s gdp at current exchange rates it can do twice as much with that gdp.

      In terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) China is actually the world’s largest economy.

      That’s why Trump sees China as the greatest threat to American dominance of world affairs. With even more internal purchasing power than the USA but an exchange rate that mean its goods are half the price of American ones it can sell to the rest of the world to drive its economy even higher while buying very little from outside.

      Enter Russia. By far the largest country in land area, even after the break up of the Soviet Union, it has enormous natural resources, many of them untapped because its languishing economy doesn’t have the money to exploit them. The world’s largest natural gas reserves, second largest coal reserves and 8th largest oil reserves. Much of this is locked under Siberian permafrost making it difficult to get at. If that permafrost were to melt it would release trillions of dollars worth of resources and turn vast areas of frozen wilderness into productive farm land leading to an enormous potential expansion of population and gdp.

      There’s a fly in the ointment though. For countries which aren’t buried under permafrost, global warming is a threat to their coastlines, agriculture and way of life. Global warming isn’t in doubt. We’ve long known the relationship between CO2 and atmospheric heat retention. It’s much less clear how the planet’s weather systems will react to this though. Enough doubt for the fossil fuel industry to muddy the waters about how much of a threat global warming really is.

      Russia also has a very low exchange rate. Goods cost even less there than in China. If Russia actually had goods that the rest of the world wanted it could sell them very cheaply. Other than oil and gas it has very little high tech or other manufacturing though. What might it do with a huge investment from the USA in both money and technology? The answer is it could become a major player in cars, computers, ships and especially fossil fuels. It could align with the USA to provide oil and gas reserves for decades to come, create huge job opportunities for American fossil fuel and tech companies and create a bulwark against Chinese economic superiority.

      What better then than if two sociopathic oligarchs aligned their interests, one secretly helping the other to win election in return for vast investment to unlock its resources and become a major world player again?

      On January 20th 2017 we are going to see the beginning of the Russo-American hegemony. Trump is currently worth a paltry few billion dollars. 10 by his own reckoning and maybe 4 by other people’s. Aligned with Putin who is young enough to stay in power for years to come he’s soon going to be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. With his children and surrogates taking charge of vast fossil fuel, property and technology conglomerates until his presidential conflicts of interest are past he can leverage the presidency into becoming the richest family in world history.

      To help make all this possible global warming doesn’t just have to be dismissed scientifically it has to be encouraged to flourish. Melting Russian permafrost, unlocking resources and with vast additional benefits to Trump and Putin. Countries which are already hot are going to become hotter and less habitable. China has been playing the long game in Africa, investing heavily to secure future supply of metals needed in high tech industry. If Africa turns into desert that investment will be crippled to some extent. The Middle East has long been the world superpower in oil terms. With Russia’s reserves unlocked it’s going to dwindle in importance and what farm land there is will disappear.

      Russia has nearly twice the land area of the USA but less than half its population. In decades to come with sufficient global warming it could support several times that population on the new Siberian mega farms in a temperate climate and with an economy propped up by oil and gas. The USA would suffer, especially the south, but the Trump family descendants will be living in the semi-tropical north, on high enough land to not worry too much about rising sea levels.

      The trick is going to be to accomplish all this without too many people raising concerns. A population educated in creationism and with science denial built in might help. Enter Betsy Devos. Try and guess how much of his time Tillerson is going to be spending in Russia? All of it? A secretary of energy who loves oil, loves religion and hates science could be handy. He doesn’t have to be smart, just groomed in what to say. Hello Rick Perry.

      This is and always was Trump’s plan IMO. Of course he couldn’t tell anyone about it hence the campaign of lies and obfuscation and zero policy proposals. I think the Obama administration is finally beginning to see it. They didn’t make the most of intelligence about Putin’s hacking when they had the chance and now they’re scrambling to get a report out before Trump quashes everything. It’s too little, too late though. On January 20th Putin becomes the real vice president and all contrary opinion will be crushed. Obamacare and Mexican walls will disappear as topics of interest. All that matters from now on is oil, gas and global warming denial. Trump and Putin are going to dominate the planet together.

    • I’ll make a few more specific predictions based on the above. The conflict in Syria might now soon be over. With Russia’s continued support and if Trump does indeed become aligned with Putin then Assad is going to start mopping up the opposition, executing everyone who opposed him, taking back the north from the Kurds and in the process defeating ISIS.

      There are huge gas and oil reserves to the east and north of the Caspian in the former Soviet countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Expect Putin to start looking at ways to bring those countries back into the Russian fold with Trump’s support. Military intervention would be risky but clandestine undermining of their governments and oil and gas exploration permits in return for economic support might bring much of the benefit with less risk of international condemnation.

    • Sometimes I feel Trump is trying to cause as much chaos, scandal and calumny possible, akin to a skit on Reality TV or a match on WWF, thinking this will translate into good viewing, ratings and money for him.

    • Donald Trump is an angry, cranky old man who thinks he has the absolute truth and wants to impose his views on everyone else.

    • Angry, cranky and not very literate apparently. China nicking one of their drones is “unpresidented” it seems. I rather think that electing a turd like this to office is more “unpresidented”. Too smart to need security briefings but not quite smart enough to spell properly. I suppose that’s the penalty you pay for tweeting constantly without having a grown up check your spelling before you press send.

    • @Karl Cruse #11

      …akin to a skit on Reality TV or a match on WWF, thinking this will translate into good viewing, ratings and money….

      That almost gives me a glimmer of hope. The hope that he remembers that to get the ratings, he needs the viewers, unkilled by nuclear weapons or other bad things. And he needs the infrastructure to deliver his vacuous content. But then, the internet was built to withstand a nuclear war, wasn’t it, back in the beginning.

      And also, as he’s only playing to the gallery, to his fanbase, all the non-viewer population are expendable in the quest for ratings. That means us. Glimmer seems to have vanished.

    • Someone on TV just now compared the transition and the Trump phenomenon to a reality TV show again. Bullshit. People don’t die on those shows.

      Reality TV does not capture it. And there should be a moratorium of all jokes on TV. SNL needs to stop, in my opinion. It is indecent to make jokes now. That is how bad it is.

      Not just a war on science; that’s one part of it; it’s a war on people. It’s all about about money and God knows what else. No one knows what they have in store for us all. I don’t know for sure what or who Trump is. He does seem like a performer – but that is true of most dictators. He may be a puppet in the hands of alt-right libertarians. He may be an authoritarian, true despot, an autocrat, a war-monger. No way to know right now.— But his divisive words and his cabinet picks and appointees (Fox News contributors mostly) suggest to me that we are, in all likelihood, entering a truly nightmarish period in American life.

      Lower taxes for those at the top and only one way to pay for it.

      People will suffer, get sick, get poorer – and the rich will get richer.—That we do know.

      “His nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, a Republican congressman from Georgia, has been a champion of cuts to all three of the nation’s large social programs — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.” —NY Times

    • Even though I’m very worried about the consequences of Trump’s future plan for the entire Middle East, this action by the US today is an important statement of support for the two state solution (even though I have no hope for it) and a swift kick in the as for Trump and his fascist zionist apartheid supporters. Trump will reek havoc here in the US and of course our citizens and electoral college system did put him into power here, but I can’t stand to think about the utter misery that he and his entourage will inflict on the long suffering Palestinians and every other person in that region, including Jews. Innocent people who are just trying to live their lives like the rest of us are and then the psychopath President elect of the US comes along and puts the people there out of their misery once and for all.

      I canNOT freakin believe this is happening.

      Thanks for abstaining even though it’s too little too late.

    • Laurie, Danny Boy is confused. Doesn’t abstaining mean that we (the US) don’t support the end of settlements? How is it a good thing that we abstained? Please explain.

      Vetoing it would have been worse; but abstaining is not a good thing either, is it?

    • I think I get it now. Abstaining was better than vetoing.

      “Netanyahu and Trump had both called for the United States to veto the draft resolution.” —Al Jazeera

      I CANnot believe this is happening either!

    • LaurieB #21

      Dec 23, 2016 at 7:04 pm

      …this action by the US today is an important statement of support for the two state solution (even though I have no hope for it) and a swift kick in the as for Trump and his fascist zionist apartheid supporters. Trump will reek havoc here in the US and of course our citizens and electoral college system did put him into power here, but I can’t stand to think about the utter misery that he and his entourage will inflict on the long suffering Palestinians and every other person in that region…

      Very true. Well said. We will all soon be in the hands of true monsters – the worst of the worst. The political system has been corrupt for a long time; now there isn’t even any pretense about it. It’s all out in the open.

      The veil has been lifted.

      And the Devil (a partial metaphor à la Mailer) is happy now, is alive, feels he can really get to work now.